Chieftain lifters prepping for 2014 campaign
Jan. 11 — at McLouth
Jan. 28 — at Royal Valley (Hoyt)
Feb. 8 — at Basehor-Linwood
Feb. 22 — at Horton
March 1 — State (Abilene)
With numerous state participants back for the upcoming season, including a pair of individual champions, the Tonganoxie High powerlifting team hopes to raise the bar in more ways than one.
Reigning state champs Cole Holloway and Jessica Rubio headline this year’s Chieftain squad, which is out to improve on a pair of top-five team finishes at last year’s state meet. More than 30 lifters opened practice Monday at THS, but preparation for the season has been going on for months.
“The majority of them are already in our second cycle,” coach Matt Bond said. “Our training has been going on since the first of the (school) year in August. Our second cycle, we’re about five weeks into it now. We’ll do our major testing right before Christmas break.”
Holloway is back after winning the 173-pound weight class as a junior. Fellow seniors Noe Puebla and Wyatt Weeks placed second and sixth in their respective classes last year. Chase Sample and Clayton Neas were also state participants, but didn’t place. Tyler Zinser, the team’s only senior last year, took sixth in his class.
Rubio, a two-time state champion, is the Chieftain girls’ only returning state placer. Shelby McDaniel, Jaycee Knipp and Stephanie Miller all placed at state, but are gone to graduation. Juniors Brittany Dussault and Maggie Parsons and sophomore McKinna Shelton return as state participants.
Nearly all team members are also enrolled in strength and conditioning classes, which Bond said he emphasizes. They’ll continue to lift until winter break, then resume practice at the start of the second semester. In the meantime, lifters will focus on basic fundamentals and technique.
Bond, who revived the program in 2009 after a long hiatus, hopes this year’s lifters will follow the lead of Holloway and Rubio, who have become regulars in the state top 10. Holloway finished fifth as a sophomore before winning a title last year, and Rubio took sixth as a freshman before winning back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013.
“Those two just set a great example,” Bond said. “They do all the little things right. They have a greater expectation of themselves than anybody ever will. They just come in every day with the frame of mind that ‘I’m going to do everything I can in this workout to get better.’ That’s what you have to do to be a state champion.”
The Chieftains are set to open their season Jan. 11 at McLouth. They’ll also make trips to Royal Valley (Hoyt), Basehor-Linwood and Horton. Bond said another meet could still be added to the schedule. The Class 4A state meet is scheduled for March 1 in Abilene.